Immigration Court Date: June 6, 2011: Prepared Statement

New York City Rally, 9/27/07Image by Barack Obama via FlickrNepali Song: Lyrics By My Immigration Lawyer
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Lingering Detail: December 18
Hello Barack, I Was In Chicago
Request For Change Of Venue
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My Non Personhood Of 2009, 2010

Look, you are not trying to figure out if Nepal is a high risk country. You have already established that on your own. Tens of thousands of Nepalis have been granted political asylum over the past few years, and hundreds continue to be granted every month. The country is going through a transition period. The civil war ended a few years back. But the country still does not have a new constitution. The law and order situation continues to be weak. Only a few weeks back a cabinet minister got stabbed multiple times right in front of his house, and the perpetrators are still at large. That is just one high profile example. Those who intend to do harm can do harm and get away with it. That is Nepal today. And you know it. You don't need me to tell you. I don't believe you have questions about the country.

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And I don't think you should have questions about me. For that you don't have to look at Nepal. You don't have to look at the fact that I was the only Nepali in America to have done full time work for Nepal's democracy movement in 2006. When you do something like that, you end up making enemies, and they are not always in the opposition camps.

You can look at New York City, a ground more familiar to you than Nepal. I was not a Barack Obama volunteer in New York City, I was not Barack Obama's one of the top volunteers in New York City. I was The Top Volunteer. That is a qualitative statement to make. If that makes you uncomfortable, how about a quantitative statement? I was Barack Obama's first full time volunteer in New York City, perhaps the country.

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The founder of Manhattan For Obama at an Upper East Side party in 2007 organized by a Harvard Law School classmate, later Chicago law firm colleague, and family friend of Barack Obama, said the US constitution should be changed so some day I could run for President of the United States. My personal ambitions are not to do with the UN, or the US, they are to do with the Internet, so I am not too into the details of such talk, but I appreciated the sentiment. The founder of Brooklyn For Barack at one point insinuated in a private one on one talk that I did not seem to have elected office ambitions because I don't have the option to run for president.

That is the kind of political acumen I have brought to the table when I have done democracy work for Nepal. When I first approached you about political asylum, I was thinking about Nepal and my personal safety. But what is going on in the world today as you see unfold across the Arab world, in Africa, hopefully also later in Russia and China, by now my request for political asylum is also to do with this big political tsunami that unfolds before our very eyes. I needed to be in the safety of New York City to exhibit the fearlessness I exhibited for democracy in Nepal in 2006. I need that safety to contribute to that which is 100 times, maybe a thousand times bigger than the magic that happened in Nepal in 2006. I am absolutely the top authority on the planet when it comes to political revolutions in Third World countries. I have contributions to make, and I will make them even as I work full time towards my chosen career as a tech entrepreneur.

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Even my work as a tech entrepreneur is to do with the Global South. After you bring democracy to a country, which you can do in a few weeks, a few months, a few years, one of the very first things you note is you face this immense poverty that will take decades to bring to an end. And my career as a tech entrepreneur is dedicated to that cause.

Look I am not someone trying to stay back for the good life. I have not had much of a good life in America, at least not yet. I mean, you had me in jail for six months with petty criminals, drug lords, half a dozen murderers. For the past 10 months or so, I have not even had my own place. I have been bouncing around like Sean Parker was bouncing around at one point in time.

Charlie Rangel was personally involved in my case. I am high profile. Some people in this town decided to press a bogus charge against me, a charge that normally might have got you 20 hours of community service if you were found guilty, but even that small charge they promptly dropped after it got me into the immigration mess, because that was the whole idea. The idea was to get me into the immigration mess. There are people in this town who never expected to see me ever again, one way or the other. This is serious business. I was in jail for six months because I was Barack Obama's top volunteer in New York City, and the dude won the Democratic nomination and that frustrated the federal ambitions of all sorts of characters in this town. They had me disappear the same day the national primary ended, they wanted to make sure I did not miss the message. That is who I am. You have to believe me when I say I am going to be very unsafe in Nepal, a country that I think about every day, a country I hope to contribute to for decades, a country I hope to visit at the first available opportunity, which might be a few years from now. But it is my predicament that for the rest of my days now I am going to have to take all sorts of safety precautions if and when I do visit Nepal. I might have to simply stay away. I might have to hire personal security, if and when I can afford that.

Third World Guy

I am someone who thinks about his physical safety every single day. It is not like I say, okay, it is 4 PM, time for me to think about my physical safety. No, it is not like that. It comes to me on its own, for a few split seconds. And it goes. And I know what it is about. It is called having sound political instincts. I have been through a lot in my life to end up with the political instincts I have today. It is with those instincts that I declared in February 2007 that Barack Obama was the next President of the United States. It is those instincts that tell me I would not be safe in Nepal today. And that is a tragedy, because I have done so much for that country. It is a country that hates Indians like me. The Tamils in Sri Lanka also have it tough. They are also Indian origin.

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There are very few people in America, politicians and non politicians alike, who understand democracy like I do. I was not born in America, but I have more than earned my right to be in this oldest of all democracies. Safety is the number one reason. But while I am here, I am also going to do work. I have already started. I am a tech entrepreneur.

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Politics is to me what sailing is to Larry Ellison, I take it very, very seriously - I mean, I am so looking forward to Obama 2012 - but it is not my career. I am a citizen of the Internet, I am a Netizen. At some level I am never going to be an American, emotionally speaking. My country is the online world. I am global. I am a New Yorker. But I will take the paperwork. I want to be safe. And I want to do some good work. I see my career as a calling.

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I ask for political asylum. What I really deserve is an honorary citizenship.
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